Florida State vs. Louisville Predictions: ACC Championship Best Bets for Saturday’s Over/Under, Spread
Getty Images. Design by Cyriel Klitsie/Action Network. Pictured (left to right): Louisville’s Jawhar Jordan and Jack Plummer. Florida State’s Keon Coleman and Trey Benson.
- The Florida State Seminoles take on the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday, Dec. 2 with the ACC Championship on the line.
- Florida State enters the ACC Championship as a 1-point favorite with an over/under of 46.5.
- Our staff breaks down its top spread and over/under picks for Florida State vs. Louisville below.
Florida State Seminoles vs. Louisville Cardinals Odds
Saturday’s late window saves one final wild-card team that threatens to throw a wrench in the College Football Playoff.
Florida State (12-0) flawlessly navigated the first 10 games of its season, including opening the schedule with a blowout win over LSU, followed by a flawless 8-0 record in conference play.
Disaster struck, however, two weeks ago when star quarterback Jordan Travis suffered a brutal lower leg injury against North Alabama that will sideline the veteran playmaker for the rest of the year.
The Seminoles relied on backup Tate Rodemaker to finish out that game and to lead Florida State to a 24-15 victory over in-state rival Florida last week to preserve the Seminoles’ shot at a berth in the CFP.
It won’t be an easy task for Rodemaker and Florida State to just waltz into the playoff, facing a Louisville team (10-2) that beat Notre Dame by double digits and went 7-1 in ACC play en route to its first ACC Championship game in program history.
The Cardinals had their four-game winning streak halted to end the season, as Kentucky used three Louisville turnovers to help push the Wildcats to a 38-31 win over the Cardinals.
The 38 points surrendered were an anomaly for a Louisville defense that ranks fourth in the ACC with 20.0 points allowed per game. This will be Rodemaker’s toughest task yet in just the second start of his career.
A win for Louisville saves the CFP committee from having to make one of the toughest decisions since it was formed: whether or not to include an undefeated conference champion with a backup quarterback into the College Football Playoff.
The line has dropped in Louisville’s favor as the public continues to fade Florida State and its second-string quarterback, but is that the right decision? Our staff breaks down the smartest angles to bet on the ACC Championship game below.
Florida State vs. Louisville Spread
By Doug Ziefel
Our staff is heavily on Louisville in this matchup, and it's easy to see why. The injury to Jordan Travis has put a massive damper on what Florida State has accomplished this season.
Yes, the Seminoles enter this matchup as the fourth team in the College Football Playoff rankings, but that's not based on what the team looks like with Tate Rodemaker under center.
In his first full game as the starting signal-caller, Rodemaker dropped back just 25 times and completed just 12 of his passes for 134 yards. The Seminoles are going to lean on the ground game in this matchup, and that plays right into the strength of this Louisville defense.
The Cardinals are 16th in the nation in yards per rush and should load the box in order to make Rodemaker beat them. However, it's not like that is an easy task either, as Louisville is 18th in opponent completion percentage.
On the other side of the ball, the trio of Jack Plummer, Jawhar Jordan and Jamari Thrash will be more than enough to put up points against a solid Florida State defense.
The Cardinals have leaned on Jordan in the running game, and he's carried them with authority. The junior is averaging 6.4 yards per carry and will be the most explosive rusher the Seminoles have seen all season.
Lastly, we can't ignore the progression of Plummer and the Cardinals' passing attack. They rank 20th in yards per pass and 22nd in completion percentage.
Even against a secondary that's No. 1 in opponent completion percentage, we should see that Plummer-to-Thrash connection quite often.
Lastly, the market movement alone should be an indicator that the Cardinals are the side. They have moved from 6.5-point underdogs to 2.5-point underdogs and are much more likely to take this one outright.
Florida State vs. Louisville Over/Under
Our staff loves the under, and it’s not hard to see why.
How is Florida State supposed to move the ball, much less score, without Jordan Travis? Backup Tate Rodemaker went 12-for-25 passing for 134 yards last week against Florida.
The big Seminole issue sans Travis is they don’t have a rushing attack to fall back on, exacerbating the Travis-to-Rodemaker downgrade. The Seminoles rank 107th in Rush Success Rate and 69th in EPA per Rush. They managed only 90 yards at 2.9 YPC against the Gators.
The Seminoles were outgained by the Gators in total yardage, 232 -224. They can’t run the ball, and their backup can’t throw it.
It’s looking ugly.
I certainly don’t expect the Seminoles to move the ball efficiently against Louisville’s elite defense. The Cardinals rank seventh in EPA per Play allowed and 14th in Success Rate allowed, allowing a measly 5.2 yards per play.
Edge rusher Ashton Gillotte has lived in the backfield, generating a whopping 58 pressures this year. Top cornerback Quincy Riley ranks eighth among Power 5 cornerbacks in reception rate allowed at a measly 38.5%.
Louisville’s defense has no exploitable weaknesses. You have to beat this great defense with great offense, and the Seminoles simply can’t.
Florida State could maybe exploit Louisville with explosive passing plays if it had Travis. With Rodemaker, the Seminoles have no shot.
Conversely, I expect Louisville to move the ball against Florida State. However, I expect most of the Cardinals’ success to come on the ground.
Florida State’s defensive weakness is against the rush. The Seminoles rank 70th nationally in EPA per Rush allowed. They’ve allowed over 100 rushing yards in all but one game this season.
That bodes well for Louisville, which likes to establish the rush before dropping into its "Air Raid" attack. Louisville rushes at a top-40 rate (55%, 36 rush plays per game) and generates 183 rush yards per game, primarily by handing the ball off to 1,000-yard, 13-touchdown lead back Jawhar Jordan.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Louisville lean heavily into a rush-first or rush-only attack. Florida State ranks fourth nationally in EPA per Pass allowed and second in Pass Success Rate allowed.
So, why test the dangerous waters with the turnover-prone Jack Plummer (11 interceptions, 14 turnover-worthy plays this year) when you’re generating five yards per carry with Jordan?
If Louisville does that, the Cardinals will generate long, methodical, clock-draining drives, favoring the under.
If those drives end in field goals, which we can expect given that Florida State ranks 18th in Points per Opportunity allowed, the under may cruise.
To recap: Florida State won’t move the ball at all, and if Louisville does on offense, it will be almost entirely via the ground-and-pound attack.
That’s the perfect game script for an under.